Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 421–439 | Cite as

Lottery Ticket Preferences as Indicated by the Variation in the Number of Winners

  • Nigel E. Turner
Original Paper


Many gamblers believe that it is possible to find a strategy to beat the lottery including selecting numbers that are due to come up or looking for a bias in past numbers. In this paper, we examine sales figures and variations in the number of winners for the various prize levels of a popular Canadian lottery to detect lottery ticket preferences. It was determined that the lottery outcomes conformed well to a random outcome. No evidence of either a bias myth or due to come up myth was found. However ticket popularity indicated a marked preference for the number 7 and low numbers, and the avoidance of high numbers and adjacent numbers. In addition we found a linear and a quadratic relationship between past frequency of the numbers and ticket popularity indicating a belief in both the due to come up and the bias myths. The findings suggest strong non-random preferences in the selection of lottery numbers.


Erroneous beliefs Lottery Gambling Random chance Gamblers fallacy 



Support to Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) for salary of scientists and infrastructure has been provided by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (OMHLTC). The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the OMHLTC or CAMH.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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